“Executive function” training is apparently the latest “it” thing to improve student performance, and parents are shelling out the big bucks for it.

What is it?

According to NPR, executive function tutors work with students to improve organization and judgment skills such as “attention and focus, working memory, impulse control and self-evaluation.”

In the NPR piece Melissa Power-Greene, an executive function tutor for the academic coaching company Beyond BookSmart, shares her experience:

“‘When I did tutoring, it was working on helping the student do these sets of math problems, or write this essay,’ says Power-Greene…

In this job, though, she helps Lilli [a freshman in high school] arrange her notes, prepare for teacher meetings and prioritize assignments. On one afternoon they strategize on how to get Lilli caught up on assigned reading. They agree she’ll have to sacrifice time to read after school on Friday.”

This training in common sense skills is wildly expensive, far more costly than regular tutoring. Beyond Booksmart charges $180 an hour and tells parents to expect to spend between $5000-$6000.

Is something seriously wrong in our society for parents to be spending thousands of dollars to have someone else teach their child common sense? Why are these skills not being learned at home or ingrained over time during the course of schooling?